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FROM THE MANY: The Life and Times of Angelo Ottaviano by John LaRaia

FROM THE MANY: The Life and Times of Angelo Ottaviano

by John LaRaia

292 pages
An Italian immigrant's successful painful climb to the American dream.

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Hardcover $28.95   + $7.38 shipping & handling (USA)
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Category: History
(requires Adobe Reader)
About the Book
A young boy begins to learn about his family’s Italian heritage when his grandfather tells him, more so reveals to him, that when he arrived in New York at the turn of the century, he was detained by immigration officials. Tucking away the memory but never forgetting the occasion, the young boy grows to adulthood hoping and planning that one day he will be able to unravel the mystery.

The author retraces the life of Angelo Ottaviano, taking the reader back to a small village in Italy’s Abruzzo Region, a place so beautiful that only history can explain why a young, ambitious boy of 17 so desperately wanted to leave. Unraveling stories and facts from official records, we follow Angelo's journey across Europe where he boards a ship in France and arrives in New York in February of 1900. Convincing US immigration officials that he is not an undesirable, the boy, instantly grown to manhood, finds work digging subway tunnels and quickly begins his climb up the ladder of success.

Encountering labor disputes, hostile discrimination and extremely dangerous working conditions, Angelo finds competent men, accomplished American businessmen, to emulate and, even more beneficially, marries a young, educated Italian-American woman in whom he finds someone to share his ambitions and high standards.

Angelo moves up quickly, taking incredible strides for an immigrant, as he makes the American dream come true. He eventually becomes president of his own construction company and lives an enviable life of accomplishment.

Yet through it all, like a like a fledgling refugee struggling to adjust to the assimilated American life he has created, Angelo finds it difficult to put aside the immigrant’s customs and prejudice. His wife, debilitated by Angelo's cruelty, slowly gives up the very will to live. His children, while they both fear and respect their father, are forced to find their own ways to cope with his unattainable expectations while shaping their own lives as true Americans.

This is the story of one man but it is also the history of the many millions who came to America with nothing but hope and ambition. They dealt with poverty, discrimination and heartache as they sought to find something better than what they had left behind. Some, like Angelo, were successful and others were not. And some, like Angelo, paid a dear price for that success.

 

 

About the Author
John LaRaia John La Raia, grandson of immigrants, learned to speak Italian and then made a dream come true visiting his ancestral village in Abruzzo. From there he followed his grandfather's journey from common laborer to successful businessman - an American businessman.

 

 

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